This is the first in a series of four presentations on “What is Socialism?” Shorter versions will be published in News & Letters. The second essay is “Socialism, labor and the Black dimension”; the third is “Socialism and ecology”; and the last is “Socialism and Women’s Liberation.”
Peking University Marxist Society students protest to support their detained club president; student workers at Grinnell College vote to be represented by a union; and a movement against climate change started by three Australian high school girls has spread to students in Japan, the UK, U.S. and Belgium.
Marxist-Humanist Editorial that takes up Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, including his attack on the landless workers movement, on the environment, on those who are LGBTQ, and his support for capitalism and neo-fascism.
In Memoriam for Moishe Postone whose critique of anti-Semitism as a fetishized form of anticapitalism came alive for those struggling with the betrayal of the Syrian Revolution by many “Leftists.”
The dialectic and the meaning of the Russian Revolution.
Trump’s barbarism in power is a crisis for bourgeois democracy and revolutionary thought. Opposition from below is far deeper than bourgeois opposition to Trump. To have efficacy today, Marx’s body of ideas must be grasped and projected as a whole. The movement from theory needs to meet the challenge of history, of freedom struggles and revolution.
Readers’ Views includes: Politics; revolution and the power of philosophy; remembering Olga Domanski; the sports section; national prison action; and voices from behind the bars.
Eugene Gogol explores the point that the radical heart of Hegelian dialectics is the negation of the negation–the positive within the negative that constructs the new society. He traces this idea in Marx and Lenin and then how Raya Dunayevskaya saw this dialectic expressed in her breakthrough on Hegel’s Absolutes, where she ascertained a dual movement: a movement from practice that is itself a form of theory and the movement from theory to philosophy.
On the same day that General William Westmoreland waved the flag before Congress, Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the Army. While the general was applauded even by the doves, Ali was, within hours, stripped of his title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. War exposed the open nerve—”the Black Question”—which has always been the touchstone of U.S. history. It placed American civilization on trial before the world much more seriously than the “war crimes tribunal” in Stockholm.
Price presents a clear explanation of what Marx wrote in Capital about the capitalist mode of production…He correctly sees state capitalism as the final stage of the capitalist mode of production, where private capitalist property is replaced by state capitalist ownership of the means of production and distribution.
Revolution and counter-revolution contend now, while the prolonged global capitalist economic crisis refuses to end. The question arises: where is the needed banner of total uprooting of the system and creation of new human relations as the goal? This objective need is present in every struggle from outright revolution in the Middle East to movements in the U.S. Beset by attacks and contradictions, they have in turn sparked counter-revolutions.
London, England–The UN’s own rapporteur for housing, Raquel Rolnik, has denounced UK government policy as creating a housing crisis for its most vulnerable citizens. Her findings were dismissed as a “misleading Marxist diatribe” by cabinet ministers. In a report detailing her investigation into the British housing sector, Rolnik specifically targets the government’s now infamous “bedroom tax.” She described it for Al Jazeera as having “an enormous impact on [a citizen’s] right to housing and also on other human rights, like the right to food [and] the right to education.”
To understand today we must begin at the beginning, that is to say, as always, with Marx. Specifically the two periods are: the first and the last, the first being the philosophic moment, 1844 [Marx’s Humanist Essays or Economic-Philosophic Manuscripts]. That laid the ground for all future development. The last being the long hard trek and process of developments–all the revolutions, as well as philosophic-political-economic concretizations, culminating in Capital. Yet the full organizational expression of all came only then, i.e., the last decade, especially the 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program. Why only then?
Today’s revival of interest in Marx, especially since the onset of the 2008 economic meltdown, includes a significant strain of economism and has revived controversies and issues addressed by Dunayevskaya in this review-essay of Paul Mattick’s book Marx and Keynes.
Although we, as a state capitalist tendency, had been saying for years that we live in an age of absolutes, that the task of the theoreticians was the working out materialistically of Hegel’s last chapter on The Absolute Idea, we were unable to relate the daily struggles of the workers to this total conception. The maturity of the age, on the other hand, disclosed itself in the fact that, with automation, the worker began to question the very mode of labor. Thus the workers began to make concrete, and thereby extended, Marx’s profoundest conceptions, for the innermost core of the Marxian dialectic, around which everything turns, is that the transformation of society must begin with the material life of the worker, the producer.
A new South Asian edition of Marxism and Freedom, from 1776 until Today by Raya Dunayevskaya has been published in India.
South Asian readers can order it from Aakar Books, http://aakarbooks. com/, 28-E, Pocket-IV, Mayur Vihar Phase-I, Delhi-110 091, India. Phone: 91-11-2279-5505. Telefax: 91-11-2279- 5641. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Mexico, there has come to light a [=>]
Now off the press:
Excerpts from the Foreword:
Nobody, least of all Marxists, foresaw the great historic divide which would be opened by the Arab Spring beginning in 2010. When Mohammed Bouazizi and Hussein Nagi Felhi killed themselves to protest the miserable conditions of life for Tunisian youth, they set off a year of revolutionary struggle that [=>]
The reelection of Hugo Chávez as president is an important moment in Venezuela and Latin America as a whole. After more than a decade in power—during which his administration practically eliminated illiteracy, drastically reduced misery and poverty, including far greater access to food and healthcare, and improved housing—the majority of the population continues to support [=>]
Business as Usual: The Economic Crisis and the Failure of Capitalism by Paul Mattick, Reaktion Books (London), 2011.
Paul Mattick’s Business as Usual is an attempt to come to grips in Marxist terms with the global economic crisis that began in 2007. It is an entry into a growing category of books which includes David Harvey’s [=>]
by Michael Gilbert
The theory and practice of how to organize workers to take power into their own hands and fight for a new social order has always been uppermost in the minds of all true revolutionaries, even in the darkest moments of capitalist and state-capitalist repression. Following Marx, the founder of Marxist-Humanism, Raya Dunayevskaya, has [=>]
New Russian edition of Marxism and Freedom
From Readers’ Views, January-February 2012 issue of News & Letters:
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN RUSSIA: IN REVOLT, IN THEORY
I heard the news of the largest protests in Russia since the dissolution of the USSR twenty years ago at just about the same time I heard about [=>]
As Others See Us
This review by Abe Cabrera is excerpted from a Sept. 20, 2011, post on his blog, The Rose in the Crosshttp://elblogdelpelon.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/the-masses-as-reason/
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Raya Dunayevskaya’s book, Marxism and Freedom: From 1776 Until Today, is the founding document of a small political movement, Marxist-Humanism. Opposed equally to the tyranny of “ordinary” capitalism and its counterpart in the [=>]
From the July-August 2011 issue of News & Letters:
On socialism and freedom in Morocco
by Richard Greeman
Morocco, where the Arab Spring has opened up a space of relative freedom to discuss and demonstrate, is an exciting place to be, where every day new groups are getting organized and putting forward their grievances. The Feb. [=>]
Now available at the News and Letters Committees website as a pdf file:
New Arabic translation of Marxism and Freedom by Raya Dunayevskaya
Raya Dunayevskaya’s classic explication of Marxism is finally available in Arabic. The first book on Marxist-Humanism, it was originally published in 1958 and has been in continuous publication. It has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, [=>]
Now available in pdf form: Arabic translation of the book Marxism and Freedom by Raya Dunayevskaya:
by Robert Taliaferro
John’s writings are strikingly poignant and timeless, with a prosody that is uniquely old-school. The body of his work is eloquently instructive and historically prescient.
In reading his columns we are challenged to look upon his words as more than philosophical constructs; there is a timelessness that reminds us that history–if left to its [=>]
From the new issue of NEWS & LETTERS, May-June 2011
Parts IV and V of
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2012
Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage
- I. The Arab Spring
- II. The wars at home
- III. Japan: earthquake, tsunami and meltdown
- IV. Revolution, organization and philosophy
- V. Marxist-Humanist Tasks
(Parts I, II, and III were posted in the last two days.)
IV. Revolution, organization and [=>]
Woman as Reason
by Terry Moon
The contemporary nature of Marxist-Humanism is evident when one views the theory and practice of women’s liberation. Today that involves both an unprecedented attack on women’s rights–especially reproductive rights–now taking place in the U.S., and women’s creative activism in the revolutionary developments in the Middle East, where they are fighting repressive [=>]
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
Editor’s note: 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War. The piece excerpted here, originally titled “Marxism and Freedom: From the Industrial Revolution to Automation–An Outline of a Book in Preparation,” shows the profound impact of the war on Marx’s thought. It can be found [=>]
by Ron Kelch
In one of the biggest demonstrations in Ireland since its revolutionary birth in 1916, 100,000 marched in Dublin on Nov. 27 against the terms of an 85 billion euro loan package put together by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The marchers were outraged over the Irish government agreeing [=>]
The world food crisis, which was hot in 2008 and then subsided temporarily, is getting worse again. It was one of the factors in Tunisia’s revolution, along with recent revolts in Algeria. The piece below, published in the June-July 2008 issue of News & Letters, is still quite germane.
World food crisis stirs [=>]
From the Nov.-Dec. 2010 issue of News & Letters:
Essay: Dunayevskaya’s place in the history of the Left
by Kevin Michaels
Raya Dunayevskaya deserves a prominent place in the historical self-understanding of the U.S. Left. She was acknowledged in her lifetime not only as a leader in theory by working-class militants like Charles Denby, author of Indignant Heart: A [=>]
Dunayevskaya’s thought alive in Latin America
Feminist meets Raya
Several months ago I had the good fortune to “meet” Raya Dunayevskaya, read and study her and familiarize myself with her thought, which to me is valid and contemporary. This brought on a self-introspection, as someone coming from the women’s liberation movement. If someone were to say that [=>]
Bordiga’s Marxism, no way to unite theory and practice
Necessity is an evil, but there is no necessity to live under the control of necessity. Everywhere the paths to freedom are open.
–Marx, Doctoral Thesis, 1841
Loren Goldner’s 1991 article, “Communism Is the Material Human Community: Amadeo Bordiga Today” was recently the topic of discussion among a [=>]